Rutgers GSE CMSI

CMSI Sponsors New Study Exploring HBCU Enrollment Resurgence

Philadelphia, Pa., October 29, 2018 — The Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) is proud to announce that they will be co-sponsoring a study exploring the cause for the recent uptick in the enrollment of Black students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Conducted by Janelle L. Williams, Assistant Director for Health Policy at the University of Sciences and Visiting Scholar at CMSI, alongside Robert Palmer, Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Howard University and a Research Affiliate at CMSI, the study aims to identify factors that may be related to the recent HBCU enrollment resurgence. By focusing on Black students from two HBCUs, Howard University and Clark Atlanta University, this qualitative study will collect data on student’s institutional experiences as well as their impetus for considering, attending, and enrolling in HBCUs.
“Both Howard and Clark Atlanta have experienced enrollment increases, despite years of flat and declining enrollment. These institutions are ideal locations to explore this phenomenon,” shares Janelle Williams.
Findings from the study will inform HBCU administrators, student affairs administrators, staff, and faculty on the critical factors responsible for the enrollment resurgence in addition to the motivations of students interested in enrolling in an HBCU in a contemporary context. These findings will urge HBCUs to consider the practices and policies that help retain current students and attract future students. Findings of this study will also be beneficial to predominately White institutions and may lead these institutions to consider how to best create safe spaces and inclusive environments for all students.
“In light of the recent racially biased incidents on college campuses across the nation and social movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement, HBCUs must be cognizant of how these cultural shifts have the potential to shape their student populations, both current and future students. For HBCUs, it is imperative that we understand the factors that influence student motivations, as this is a pivotal time in history for all institutions serving Black students,” said Robert Palmer.

About the Center for Minority Serving Institutions 
The Center for Minority Serving Institutions brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. CMSI’s goals include: elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities. For further information about CMSI, please visit

Monday, October 29, 2018
Press Release type: